Will book scrutiny become the new lesson observation?


I just read this in an Ofsted report..

 Although joint observations during the inspection indicated that senior leaders are accurate in their evaluations of teaching, school records show that the quality of teaching is judged to be good in a high proportion of lessons. This gives the school an unrealistic picture of the overall quality of teaching, because the detailed scrutiny of pupils’ work undertaken by inspectors with school leaders indicated that teaching requires improvement.

It concerns me. 

Are we just moving from using lesson observation to judge teaching to using book scrutiny instead?

Here it seems to be a real limiter. 

I’m concerned about people looking at student books without the teacher present to explain, guide and show how they use student books.

I have a particular way that I get students to work. I mark in a particular way. However if you were to just look in their folders no-one would be able to work this out without explanation from myself or indeed the student. 

In the way in which people started to plan to teach in a particular way for observations/Ofsted, will teachers be under pressure to make student books look a particular way so the outsider can see progress? Should we be deliberately enforcing a set style for student work and marking, for someone outside to recognise what’s going on?

I fear it’s the way things are going.

6 thoughts on “Will book scrutiny become the new lesson observation?

  1. A particular style of feedback has become the orthodoxy, hasn’t it? Written feedback, with children writing feedback is now expected as far as I can tell…

  2. It’s not necessarily students writing feedback that is required, it’s more the expectation that they will be engaging with your comments in some form (turning description into explanation, responding to extension questions etc) … at least that’s what’s happening in my school and we’re no stranger to Ofsted!

  3. Yes but the point is without discussion with the teacher OR making teachers follow a prescribed way of feedback and response, is it always possible to see the progress? I.e we’re being judged on something that a random person may not see.

  4. Pingback: Bloggers lead the campaign to reform Ofsted | Pragmatic Education

  5. It is already happening – I go into primary schools where children have been forced to write date and learning intention then under a photograph write something like – today we performed a poem – so that ‘ofsted’ know they were not just slacking in that particular lesson.

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